HARARE – Retired police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri along with his wife, Isabel, face arrest over theft claims that have been made to the police by a local businessman.
Bigboy Pachirera who alleges that Chihuri impounded five of his motor vehicles and fraudulently changed ownership into his name, reported the allegations at Marlborough Police Station on Saturday.
Also included in the police report are senior officers in the Zimbabwe Republic Police namely Godfrey Manyonga, Lovemore Nxumalo, Alexander Jachi and Superintendent Marodza.
The case has been opened under RRB 3448738 and CR21/02/18 with Chihuri and his former subordinates being charged with criminal abuse of office and theft.
Isabel only faces theft charges as Pachirera alleges she was instrumental in ordering police in taking over his properties, especially his Highfield house valued at $50 000.
“I can confirm that my client has filed a report against Chihuri and other police officials over a spiral of charges ranging from theft to abuse of office. We now await the day when these matters are brought before the courts for justice to prevail,” Pachirera’s lawyer Rungano Mahuni said.
Pachirera’s wife has also opened a separate case against Chihuri, and detectives Joseph Nemaisa, Jachi and Nxumalo on allegations of kidnapping, robbery and theft.
The couple has a pending civil suit at the High Court against the former police boss claiming $2 968 000 for property that he lost and business losses incurred at the hands of Chihuri.
According to Mahuni, Chihuri has offered to compensate some of the property but the parties seemingly failed to reach an agreement.
Chihuri has claimed that Pachirera surrendered the property to him willingly as compensations for a spiral of thefts that he committed after running a parallel company to the former police boss’s Kidsdale Enterprises during his tenure as transport manager.
He claims that Pachirera would divert funds and contracts awarded to Kidsdale Enterprises to his company, Chelnpac Investments (Private) Limited – which was allegedly registered without declaring his interest.
However, Pachirera gave harrowing experiences of how he and his family were subjected to endless torture by members of the police Homicide department after becoming Chihuri’s “target” in 2013.
“At first, I was accused of theft and put into police custody where I was held for seven days before being brought before a court. They would come (police) holding guns at me and force me into signing affidavits one if which gave Chihuri powers to take my Highfield house valued $50 000,” Pachirera alleges.
“When I finally appeared in court I was released because police had over-detained me but they did not stop hunting for me.”
According to Pachirera, in 2014 Chihuri then allegedly formulated theft of motor vehicle charges and held the businessman’s wife hostage to induce to release some of his cars.
“All the cars that they claimed to have been stolen had personally bought them from Zimoco here in Zimbabwe. They all had records my Mercedes Benz ML 350 Formatic and Jeep Cherokee and the three trucks I used in my road construction business.”
In a letter dated December 5, 2017 delivered to Chihuri’s Shawasha residence and private business offices in Alex Park, Harare, Pachirera’s lawyers Mahuni Gidiri Law Chambers demanded damages and that the property must be returned.
“On or about December 22, 2013 you caused the unlawful arrest of our client on allegations of theft. At all material times you knew very well that our client had not committed any offence against you…after his release from custody you ordered the police to harass our client and his family and engaged services of CID Frauds and Homicide to rob and steal our client’s property,” reads part of the letter.
“You ordered that our client’s several motor vehicles be taken to the Vehicle Theft Squad section for verification of whether or not they had been stolen. You and the police caused the change of name on all the motor vehicles into your name(s) and Kidsdale Enterprises a company owned by you.”
Pachirera claims that he lost business after heavy duty trucks that he used to earn a living were also held and transferred into Chihuri’s ownership.
“Since the time you unlawfully despoiled our client of his property, he has lost business and income in excess of $1, 4 million and also suffered personality infringement in the sum of $1 million.
“The value of the property that you deprived our client amounts $470 000 and $50 000 for the Highfield home…he was earning $1000 in rentals from that property and has lost income of $48 000.”
The businessman told Daily News that he could speak openly about the issue fearing for his life because of threats that he received from the police over the issue.
“My residence was kept under police surveillance, each time I went out police would follow me. I got to a point where two armed police officers displaying guns roamed about 100 metres from my residence. I think it is because of the God’s grace that I am alive today,” Pachirera said.
He said whenever they attempted to engage the police Mahuni would be told to comply with any directive that came his way because “the matter was complicated since it involved the boss”.